Robert Kubica scored an excellent second place finish at Albert Park, Melbourne today, although Renault’s other driver, Vitaly Petrov retired on lap 10.
The Pole explained how he managed his somewhat surprising podium finish. “Second place today is a fantastic result for the team after all the hard work we have done over the winter. It was a difficult race to call in terms of strategy and I pitted to change my intermediates for slicks as soon as we saw Button's pace. I managed to jump Massa in the pits and I came out ahead of Button, but it was my first lap on slicks so I could not hold him off.
“I thought I would pit again later in the race, but the team said we didn't need to if I could look after the tyres until the end of the race. I tried to take care of them as much as I could, which wasn't easy because I had Hamilton behind me and then Massa, but in the end my tyres lasted and we managed to get this great result. We have put in so much hard work this winter, and we know there is still a long way to go before we are really competitive with the fastest teams, but this is a brilliant boost for everybody in the team.”
Vitaly Petrov made up a lot of ground after starting eighteenth bit it was his mistake that ended his second F1 race prematurely. “I made a good start to gain eight places and enjoyed the first few laps in the wet when I was inside the top ten. We made a change to slick tyres at the same time as most of the field, but when I was on the slicks I got caught out in the braking zone for turn three and got stuck in the gravel. I'm very disappointed because I think I could have scored points today. Still, this is a great day for the team and Robert's second place shows the potential of the car.”
Renault team principal Eric Boullier was understandably happy with Kubica’s race. “The second place today is a fantastic result for Robert and the whole team in Enstone and Viry. We worked really hard over the winter and we can be very proud of this result. Although we still need to improve the car, this podium gives us all a lot of motivation to keep pushing.
“Robert drove a perfect race, looking after the car and fighting hard. I also have to say a big well done to the mechanics, who did an excellent job to get Robert out ahead of Massa in the pits, which was crucial for the final outcome of the race. It was a disappointing end to the race for Vitaly, but he is still learning about F1. His start was very strong, and with his strategy he could have been challenging for points.”
Chief Race Engineer Alan Permane was also very pleased with Kubica, and seems prepared to overlook his young Russian driver’s rookie mistakes. “Robert drove a brilliant race today. He made a good start on the intermediate tyres and I think we stopped to fit slicks at pretty much the ideal time. After that he drove and excellent race and managed his tyres perfectly to bring the car home in second place. Unfortunately Vitaly's race ended early as he got caught out in the damp conditions, but he has another weekend under his belt and will look to bounce back in Malaysia next weekend, where we will have some more new aero updates on the car.”
Head of Engine Operations Remi Taffin echoed his colleagues sentiments. “Today's result is excellent and we must dedicate it to the mechanics who have worked so hard over the last few weeks, and, of course, to Robert Kubica who delivered an exceptional performance. Without him we would not have been able to get this result. We're not yet at the level of the leading teams, but we will continue working hard to get there.”